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Honors Faculty Fellows program to continue in spring 2021

October 7, 2020

Winter is coming…and so is Game of Thrones and Medieval History. Have you taken a 23andMe test to find out about where you come from? Do you know someone who struggles with addiction or substance abuse? How well acquainted are you with Don Quixote?

These are just a few of the themes honors students will have the opportunity to explore in the spring semester.

The Honors Faculty Fellowship program began this fall with a cohort of NIU’s award-winning professors and innovative researchers. It will continue to provide engaging, interdisciplinary seminars to NIU honors students this spring.

Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D., director of the University Honors Program

“Honors seminars are the crown jewel of the honors curriculum,” said Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D., director of the University Honors Program. “Faculty and instructors get to teach enthusiastic and accomplished students from all disciplines, and, in many cases, introduce students to entirely new material. We are excited about the amazing seminars this year, and we are already looking for our slate of Honors Faculty Fellows for next year.”

This coming semester, Kari Hickey, Ph.D., from nursing and Carol Walther, Ph.D., from sociology will bring an interdisciplinary approach to some serious issues. “This course has not been taught before,” the teaching team said. “We will examine how addictions, health and criminal justice intersect in providing possible solutions to substance abuse and addiction. As faculty in different programs, we will lead students in thinking about this problem through a community health and sociological lens.”

Tim Crowley, Ph.D., looks forward to sharing his love of “Don Quixote” with honors students. “Experience with this text in the classroom gives me confidence that it holds particular appeal for intellectually motivated students with different disciplinary interests within the humanities and beyond,” Crowley said.

Professor Valerie Garver will be teaching seminar on “Game of Thrones” during the spring 2021 semester.

The popularity of “Game of Thrones attests to interest in a genre where great storytelling intersects with historically rich references. Valerie Garver, Ph.D., is bringing a popular seminar on “Game of Thrones” and medievalism back in spring 2021. “The main reason I would like to teach this honors seminar again is to engage with students, helping them to see the past in new ways, not least how it has shaped our modern experience,” Garver said.

Other members of the Honors Faculty Fellowship program include: Clare Kron, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences; Beverly Henry, Ph.D., director of Health Sciences; and Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Faculty interested in proposing a seminar for fall 2021 or spring 2022 can learn more about the University Honors Program’s call for proposals.

Upcoming Honors Seminars, Spring 2021

Game of Thrones (HIST 399H)

Many medievalists have been struck by the uses and abuses of medieval history in the HBO television series “Game of Thrones.” This course will address how and why the showrunners drew from the Middle Ages, whether consciously or unconsciously, in creating a “believable” or “realistic” fantasy world. As a result, we will explore ways modern people understand, interpret and selectively emphasize certain aspects of the Middle Ages in order to comment on contemporary issues and to come to terms with the cultural meanings of the past. Therefore, as we work our way through the series “Game of Thrones,” we will spend time reading texts from the Middle Ages, scholarly texts about the Middle Ages, recent commentaries on allegedly medieval aspects of “Game of Thrones,” and popular analyses of the series.

Taught by Valerie Garver, Department of History.

Human Genetics and Evolution (HON 300B)

Interest in personal background has become a priority in our current era. This is the newest form of “exploration,” in which genetic ancestry is plumbed to provide direction for the present. The popularity of genetic testing via kits such as 23andme continues to increase as individuals seek answers to their origins. As genetics tests also reveal DNA variation that may indicate health status, many hope to identify disease risks both for themselves and future offspring. The study of evolution is an essential complement of this exploration as it reveals the steady unfolding of the genetic signature of humankind as a whole.

Taught by Clare Kron, Department of Biological Sciences.

Ideas and Ideals in Don Quixote (ENGL 310H)

This seminar is devoted to one of the most famous and influential books in literary history: Miguel de Cervantes’s “Don Quixote.” This work, initially published in two phases (1605 and 1615), tends to be considered the first modern novel. At the turn of the 21st century, a group of 100 prominent authors worldwide voted “Don Quixote” No. 1 in the history of fiction. This seminar will explore this literary masterpiece and the fascinating relationships between society and human imagination across time periods and cultures.

Taught by Timothy Crowley, Department of English.

Interprofessionalism in Health Sciences (HSCI 399H)

Thinking about how you can improve health outcomes or patient experiences? The World Health Organization recommends interprofessional education. Learn about, from, and with each other through readings, discussion, and group projects to learn about different professions and develop your skills with collaboration. In this class, you will participate in interactive learning with other disciplines to prepare you for “deliberatively working together” to improve community and population health care systems.

Taught by Beverly Henry, School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions.

Disparities in Criminal Justice, Addictions and Health (HON 310-2)

In the 1960s, President Nixon claimed a war on drugs. Since that time, we have seen changes in drugs and a drug epidemic that has impacted communities. This course examines the possible solutions to drug overdoses through a community health and sociological lens. We have broken the course up into three parts. First, we will begin the class discussing historical changes in the health and criminal justice system. Second, we will focus on social class, racial/ethnic groups, sexualities, abilities, citizenship status, and gender positions in community health and the criminal justice system. Third, we will examine the labor practices of professionals. Students will explore ways of effectively analyzing outcome effectiveness of different programs/policies and will be required to gain firsthand knowledge by doing research in the greater northern Illinois area.

Taught by Kari Hickey, Department of Nursing, and Carol Walther, Department of Sociology.

Sport for Youth Development (KNPE 399H)

Professor Paul Wright

When most people think sport, they think competition. Learning how to compete fairly and constructively is certainly important for children and adolescents. However, sport can teach so many other positive life skills, such as goal setting, leadership, communication and respect for diversity. The field of sport-based youth development specializes in using sport as a means to promote positive overall development and teach life skills that transfer to other settings. In this class, we will explore theory, best practice and research in the field of youth sport.

Taught by Paul Wright, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.